FIFO overworking local health and police services

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The massive influx of fly-in-fly-out workers in Queensland’s coal regions is drastically overworking health and police services, according to a new study by KPMG.

Completed for the Isaac Shire Council, the study said there was a growing population imbalance in booming towns.

KPMG demographer Bernard Salt said the Isaac region was experiencing some of the most dramatic growth in Australia and new approaches were needed to solve the problems it had brought.

“We are using a 20th century model to deal with 21st century issues,” he said.

Salt’s study backs claims made earlier in the year by Moranbah doctors Johann Scholtz and Reyno Nieuwoudt.

In their application to the federal parliamentary inquiry into FIFO Scholtz and Nieuwoudt said local doctors were struggling to deal with the influx of FIFO workers.

“Continuing to mistakenly assert that non-resident workers do not place pressure on health care and other essential services is dangerous and short sighted in the extreme,” they said.

Scholtz and Nieuwoudt said the majority of their patients were now non-residents, and the influx was stretching out waiting lists and hampering their ability to treat locals.

The KPMG analysis said there was a need for 44 extra doctors and 235 nurses in regional areas to meet the new population imbalance.

Isaac mayor Cedric Marshall said the State Government needed to play a more active role in addressing the problems population strains were putting on mining towns.

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